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The Rose Temple


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Lucia Weitzman was born in Bochnia, Poland in 1940 as Rose Berl. Her identity was taken from her in 1942, when her parents courageously chose to give away their little girl to a Polish couple in a desperate attempt to save her from the Nazis. Shortly thereafter, Poland's Bochnia ghetto, where they lived, was liquidated and most of its Jews were murdered. Rose's parents did not survive. Now known as Alicja Swiatek, at age five she discovered she was Jewish when a relative searching for her after the war revealed Rose's true identity. She remained with her adoptive parents, but the revelation reverberated throughout her hometown, where anti-Semitism still thrived. In her early twenties, distraught about her future in Poland, Alicja discovered American relatives who supported her. This drew the attention of Communist authorities and she was arrested. Released temporarily to the guardianship of her high school headmaster, she fled Poland, tearfully leaving her adoptive parents behind. She arrived in America in 1962, married a Jewish man, and assumed yet another name, Lucia. She locked away much of her past inside, and focused on family and community. But beneath the veneer of life as a traditional Jewish wife and mother, Lucia harbored a secret and lingering spiritual angst. Years later, deep in mourning following the loss of her husband, long-suppressed emotions rose to the surface and Lucia confronted God at Jerusalem's Western Wall. Why had God allowed her to be orphaned yet again? Why had she been spared as a child? And what did her experiences reveal about her life's purpose? Unexpectedly, she sensed a comforting response. Lucia considered brushing the incident aside, but more unexplained experiences followed that seemed to call on her to decipher their messages. She had a choice: Ignore or suppress this uncertain new path her life was taking; or choose to gain greater understanding of its meaning. Lucia embraced the challenge. At first frightened, she learned to trust her spiritual sensibilities that gave deeper meaning to her experiences while answering larger questions about God's presence during times of evil and suffering. She slowly began to share with her son, Mitchell, her mysterious writings and dreams that were peppered with Biblically inspired symbols and images. At one point, Mitchell found himself asking: Who is my mother? Who is Lucia Weitzman? He was at first wary, concerned about the reaction he thought his mother would encounter by sharing her experiences with the wider world. But as her resolve strengthened, so did his. Together, they set out to tell her story. Lucia currently resides in Florida and New York and is working on a book that explores the mystical meanings of some of Judaism's most sacred artifacts. Mitchell Weitzman is an attorney and author living in the Washington-Baltimore area. A former columnist for the Washington Jewish Week, his work has also appeared in Coping magazine and Biomedical Ethics Reviews.


"A debut memoir about adversity, identity, and a mystical quest for spiritual succor. The poignancy of her revelations...and her lifelong quest to rediscover her lost self will enthrall even readers who are skeptical of all things mystical. A beautiful, meditative account, of literary and historical merit."-- "Kirkus Reviews"
"More than a Holocaust history or memoir: a heady read that ultimately asks readers to examine their own lives...fueled with the passion of an individual's journey, accessible to a wide audience: a standout read in the literature of Holocaust survivors and Jewish spiritual exploration."-- "Midwest Book Review"
"Lucia Weitzman lives within the awareness of [her dreams] each day, somehow having this inner knowing they will ultimately lead her to the heart of her authentic self. And most beautifully, she understands that this journey never really ends--it is just the beginning of a soul finding its wings and living from the center of that truth."--Barbara Techel, author, "Through Frankie's Eyes: One Woman's Journey to her Authentic Self, and the Dog on Wheels Who Led the Way"
"The spiritual lessons of The Rose Temple open to a future where the spiritual paths of many traditions may flow together within a deep and common stream of human spirituality."--Rabbi Gerald Serotta, Executive Director, Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

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